The Magic Of Scanning

Nishad.Karim | March 20, 2012


Roll up, roll up and come and see as I lift the heavy veil on the long shrouded world of 3D scanning. Today I reveal to you all the mysteries and wonder of creating a virtual 3D image of, quite literally, anything at all – an unmissable read I’m sure you’ll agree.

So to delve straight into this somewhat new world, I’ll begin with some basics. 3D scanning is where a normal object image is created virtually in 3 dimensions. This can be done using a number of different methods, including lasers, white light interferometers, photogrammetry and structured light interferometry; the last of which is the method used in the demonstrations below and so will be looked into a little more closely.

With regard to this project, 3D scanning is being used to create virtual models of the 3rd Duke of Norfolk’s and the Duke of Richmond’s tombs in Framlingham and fragments found in the ruins of Thetford Priory in the 1920s where the tombs were originally housed before being moved to Framlingham.

The scanned tombs can then be virtually disassembled into their individual blocks allowing for art historical design hypothesis to be tested on the possibility of a different original tomb design and structure which could not be done before. Without a Deloreon the original tomb design is unknown making this testing important. All this makes scanning vital for this and future projects.

As for the scanning itself, well, structured light 3D scanning works by projecting a known stripe pattern onto the required object. The pattern is distorted by the shape of the object and this is detected by a camera. Using this data calculations are made to determine the depth of the object’s surface, creating a virtual 3D representation of it. Multiple scans are taken covering the entire object surface, so that the individual scans can be merged together to create a single, solid model. A demonstration of this technique is given below.

The above model is of a window arch found at Thetford Priory in the 1920s. The scan data was taken using Mephisto’s PicoScan, a structured light scanner, and merged to create a solid model using MeshLab software. It shows the start to end stages of the scanning process (left to right), beginning with a single scan of the arch, then merged with scans from other angles, to the final, aligned product.

The above model is of a window arch found at Thetford Priory in the 1920s. The scan data was taken using Mephisto’s PicoScan, a structured light scanner, and merged to create a solid model using MeshLab software. It shows the start to end stages of the scanning process (left to right), beginning with a single scan of the arch, then merged with scans from other angles, to the final, aligned product.

So there you have it, the secrets of the scanning illuminati revealed. But shuh, don’t tell anyone else…

 

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